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What Is Pop Music?

The Definition from the 1950s to Today

Introduction

What is pop music? The definition of pop music is deliberately flexible. It accommodates the fact
that the specific music identified as pop is continually changing. At any particular point in time, it
may be most straightforward to identify pop music as that which is successful on the pop music
charts. For the past 50 years, the most successful musical styles on the pop charts have
continually changed and evolved. However, there are some consistent patterns in what we know
as pop music.

Pop Vs. Popular Music

It is tempting to confuse pop music with popular music. The New Grove Dictionary Of Music and
Musicians, the musicologist's ultimate reference resource, identifies popular music as the music
since industrialization in the 1800's that is most in line with the tastes and interests of the urban
middle class. This would include a vast range of music from vaudeville and minstrel shows to
heavy metal. Pop music, as a phrase with the shortened first word, has primarily come into
usage to describe the music that evolved out of the rock and roll revolution of the mid-1950s
and continues on a definable path today.

Music Accessible To the Widest Audience

Since the mid-1950s pop music has usually been identified as the music and the musical styles
that are accessible to the broadest audience. This means the music that sells the most copies
draws the largest concert audiences and is played most often on the radio. Most recently, it also
includes the music that is most often streamed digitally and provides the soundtrack for the
most popular music videos.

After Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock hit #1 on music charts in 1955 the most popular music
became the records influenced by rock 'n roll instead of the songs and light standards that had
dominated TV's Your Hit Parade weekly countdown show.
Since 1955 the music that appeals to the broadest audience, or pop music, has been dominated
by sounds that are still rooted in the fundamental elements of rock 'n roll.

Pop Music and Song Structure

One of the most consistent elements of pop music since the 1950's is the pop song. Pop music is
not usually written, performed and recorded as a symphony, suite, or concerto.

The basic form of pop music is the song and usually a song consisting of verses and a repeated
chorus. Most often the songs are between 2 1/2 minutes and 5 1/2 minutes in length.

There have been notable exceptions. The Beatles' Hey Jude was an epic seven minutes in length.
However, in many cases, if the song is abnormally long, an edited version is released for radio
airplay such as in the case of Don McLean's American Pie. It was edited down from its original 8
1/2 minutes long recording to a version just over four minutes for radio airplay.

On the other end of the spectrum, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, some hit songs clocked in
under two minutes in length.

The Pop Music Melting Pot

As with other art forms that aim to attract a mass audience -- movies, television, Broadway
shows -- pop music has been and continues to be a melting pot that borrows from and
assimilates elements and ideas from a wide range of musical styles.

Rock, R&B, country, disco, punk, and hip-hop are all specific genres of music that have influenced
and been incorporated into pop music in various ways over the past six decades.
In the past decade, Latin music and other international forms including reggae have played a
more prominent role in pop music than in the past.

Pop Music Today

Today's pop music bears significant influences from the development of recording technology.
Electronic music played and recorded digitally permeates most of today's top-selling pop music.

However, in a shift from the mainstream, Adele's Someone Like You from 2011 became the first
song featuring only piano and vocals to reach #1 on the US pop chart. In 2014, with her album
1989, Taylor Swift became the most prominent country music performer ever to shift to
recording an album that is entirely pop music.

Hip-hop continues to play a significant role in mainstream pop music with Drake emerging as one
of the top pop artists of 2016.

Although historically American and British artists have dominated pop music, other countries
such as Canada, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand are increasingly influential on the
international pop music scene.

Western-style pop music is a primary reference point for the development of enormous pop
music markets in Korea and Japan. The performers are indigenous, but the sounds are primarily
imported from the U.S. and other countries that support Western-style music. K-Pop, the style
that has evolved in South Korea is dominated by girl groups and boy bands.

In 2012, Gangnam Style, by the Korean artist Psy, became one of the biggest worldwide hit songs
of all time. The music video has racked up more than three billion views on YouTube.

Pop Music Video

Short films of recording artists performing hit songs have existed as a promotional tool since at
least the 1950s. Tony Bennett lays claim to creating the first music video with a clip showing him
walking in Hyde Park, London while his song Stranger in Paradise plays on the soundtrack. Major
recording artists like the Beatles and Bob Dylan created film clips to accompany their songs in
the 1960s.

The industry of music video received a huge boost in 1981 with the launch of the cable television
channel MTV. It was dedicated 24 hours a day to showing and building programming around
music videos. The channel eventually slowed their broadcast of music videos, but the creation of
the short film clips became a permanent part of the pop music industry.

Today, it is rare for a hit song to climb charts without an accompanying music video. In fact, the
number of times a music video is viewed is counted as another indicator of the popularity of a
song when its national ranking is determined.

Many artists also release what are known as lyric videos for their songs. These are film clips that
focus on the song lyrics and show them while the song plays on the video soundtrack.

Pure Pop and Power Pop

Although pop music continues to be a melting pot of styles, there is a genre of pop music that
claims to be pop music in its purest form. This music, usually called pure pop or power pop,
typically consists of relatively brief (not over 3 1/2 minutes) songs played on the standard
electric guitar, bass and drums with vocals that have a very strong catchy chorus, or hook.

Among the top pure pop or power pop performers of the past are the Raspberries, Cheap Trick
and the Memphis group Big Star. The Knack's #1 smash hit My Sharona is often considered the
biggest power pop chart hit.

Sejarah Musik Pop Dan Berkembangnya Di Indonesia

30/04/2018 09:50 PM

Bermula pada Perang Dunia I tahun 1918. Dimana saat itu penduduk Amerika Serikat mulai
menggemari musik ini dua tahun kemudian. Berasal dari penemuan Thomas Edison, kemudian
istilah pop dicetuskan pertama kali oleh pengamat seni rupa berkebangsaan Inggris, Lawrence
Alloway. Dengan kata lain, musik pop itu berasal dari kata populer dan komersil, tak heran jika
musik ini banyak memiliki peminat sampai sekarang.
Melalui gerakannya, pop itu dimaksudkan sebagai bumbu penyedap untuk mendobrak
pandangan-pandangan lama seiring berkembangnya zaman. Kemunculan musik pop ini pun kian
digemari di seluruh dunia dengan perpaduan berbagai irama yang ada seperti Rhumba, Samba,
Congsa, Mambo, dan jenis lainnya mulai tahun 1940. Dengan bermodalkan musik yang easy
listening, musik pop bisa di tunjang oleh penggunaan teknologi dan tidak terbatas hanya pada
satu aliran tertentu. Misalkan, nada dari proses mixing atau gitar listrik dapat bervariasi.

Baca juga: Arikel KiosTix

Musik pop banyak dipahami secara komersial oleh rekaman musik, karena berorientasi menuju
pasara muda, karena lirik lagu yang relatif sederhana, namun memiliki pesan yang mendalam.
Musik pop juga merujuk pada salah satu genre musik yang memiliki daya tarik secara luas, dan
biasanya disalurkan ke khalayak melalui industri musik. Berbeda dengan seni musik tradisional,
yang biasanya penyebarannya secara akademis, lingkup lebih kecil, dan penonton lokal.

Sejarah Musik Pop di Indonesia

Diawali oleh grub band yang cukup terkenal pada era 70-an. Ya, siapa lagi kalau bukan band
legendaris Koes Ploes. Berkat puluhan lagu yang lahir dari kelompok musik ini, mulai dari versi
pop, pop jawa, irama melayu, dangdut, pop anak-anak, irama keroncong, folk song, hard beat,
dan lagu berbahasa Inggris.

Hingga namanya pun diabadikan sebagai kelompok musik yang paling berpengaruh di Museum
Record Indonesia (MURI). Pembawaan lagu mereka dikenal sungguh sederhana dalam syair,
musik, maupun melodi.

Mengenal band yang menjadi kebangkitan genre musik pop ini, tidak selamanya berjalan mulus.
Sekitar tahun 1976, Koes Plus pernah redup, saat regenerasi mulai berkembang dan selera
masyarakat pun berubah. Puncaknya pada 1978, ketika Koes Plus benar-benar lemah. Seiring
berjalannya waktu dari era 70-an ke 80-an, musik pop Indonesia dihiasi oleh sejumlah kelompok
musik seperti Mercy's, Panber's, D'Lloyd dan Koes Plus.

Setelah menjadi legenda band-band tersebut, kemudian muncul lah kelompok-kelompok musik
modern seperti Sheila On 7, Gigi, Peterpan, The Changcuters dan Padi. Dengan tampilan yang
berbeda, namun mengandung unsur populer dengan image musik masing-masing. Begitu pun
selanjutnya, musik pop akan terus meregenerasi dan berkembang mengikuti tren.

Berkembangnya Musik Pop di Indonesia

Berawal dari tahun 1960, band lokal dalam negeri mulai berkreasi dan diprakarsai oleh band
Koes Bersaudara (Koes Plus), menggantikan musik yang awalnya diisi oleh band dari Malaysia
dan Singapura. Kemunculan Koes Plus membawa musik populer yang dengan mudah dinikmati
oleh masyarakat di Indonesia. Setelah popularitasnya (Koes Plus), banyak penyanyi terkenal
Indonesia yang dapat dikenal se-Asia Tenggara seperti Rossa, Ungu, Krisdayanti (KD), Noah, The
Changcuters dan Wali band.

Legendaris Musik Pop Indonesia (Solo)

A. Riyanto (1943 - 1994)

Menjadi salah satu tonggak musik pop Indonesia (solo) yang berhasil menerbitkan penyanyi top
era 70-80an ke dapur rekaman seperti; Tety Kadi, Ernie Djohan, Rafika Duri, dan Jamal Mirdad.

Chica Koeswoyo (1968)

Menjadi generasi ketiga Koeswoyo membuatnya menjadi salah satu pionir yang membuka
peluang penyanyi cilik sebagai primadona di tahun 70-an. Pada zamannya, lirik lagu anak-anak
terdengar sederhana dan mudah dihafal loh.

Chrisye (1949 - 2007)

Chrisye tertarik dengan musik saat masih muda dan memulai karir sebagai bassist band Gipsy.
Dilahirkan dengan nama asli Christian Rahardi, merupakan salah satu sosok penynyi dan pecipta
lagu di Indonesia. Banyak lagu yang dirilis oleh tangan dingin Chrisye yang di aransement ulang
oleh penyanyi top sampai sekarang.

Legendaris Musik Pop Indonesia (Band)

Koes Plus

Koes Plus adalah grup musik yang dibentuk pada tahun 1969, meneruskan grup Koes
Bersaudara. Koes Plus dianggap sebagai pelopor musik pop dan rock n' roll di Indonesia pada
dasawarsa 1970-an. Berikut beberapa lagu hits-nya; seperti "Kolam Susu", "Diana", "Cubit-
Cubitan", dan "Bis Sekolah".

op music is a type of popular music that many people like to listen to. The term "pop music" can
be used for all kinds of music that was written to be popular. The word "pop music" was used
from about 1880 onwards, when a type of music called music was popular. Styles of pop music in
the 2010s (today) include rock music, electronic dance music and hip hop.

Pop music came from the Rock and Rollmovement of the early 1950s, when recordcompanies
recorded songs that they thought that teenagers would like. Pop music usually uses musical from
the other types of music that are popular at the time. Many different styles of music have
become pop music during different time periods. Often, music companies create pop music
styles by taking a style of music that only a small number of people were listening to, and then
making that music more popular by marketing it to teenagers and young adults.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a type of nightclub dance music called Disco turned into a
popular type of pop music. Record companies took an experimental, strange-sounding type of
music called New Wavemusic from the 1980s and turned it into pop music bands such as The
Cars. In the 1990srecord companies took an underground type of hard rock called Grunge (for
example the band Nirvana). Michael Jackson was also a very influential artist for pop music. His
album, Thriller, is the best-selling album of all time. He also wrote some other very influential
songs, such as "Bad", "Give In to Me", "Will You Be There", "Heal the World", "We Are the
World", "Black or White", and "Billie Jean", just to name a few. By the 21st century (after the
demise of disco in the 1980s)Contemporary R&B became pop music. Examples of Contemporary
R&B artists that have a wide pop appeal are Usher, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Chris Brown and more.

SOURCES:

Pop music is a type of popular music that many people like to listen to. The term "pop music"
can be used for all kinds of music that was written to be popular. The word "pop music" was
used from about 1880 onwards, when a type of music called music was popular. Styles of pop
music in the 2010s (today) include rock music, electronic dance music and hip hop.
Pop music came from the Rock and Rollmovement of the early 1950s, when recordcompanies
recorded songs that they thought that teenagers would like. Pop music usually uses musical from
the other types of music that are popular at the time. Many different styles of music have
become pop music during different time periods. Often, music companies create pop music
styles by taking a style of music that only a small number of people were listening to, and then
making that music more popular by marketing it to teenagers and young adults.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a type of nightclub dance music called Disco turned into a
popular type of pop music. Record companies took an experimental, strange-sounding type of
music called New Wavemusic from the 1980s and turned it into pop music bands such as The
Cars. In the 1990srecord companies took an underground type of hard rock called Grunge (for
example the band Nirvana). Michael Jackson was also a very influential artist for pop music. His
album, Thriller, is the best-selling album of all time. He also wrote some other very influential
songs, such as "Bad", "Give In to Me", "Will You Be There", "Heal the World", "We Are the
World", "Black or White", and "Billie Jean", just to name a few. By the 21st century (after the
demise of disco in the 1980s)Contemporary R&B became pop music. Examples of Contemporary
R&B artists that have a wide pop appeal are Usher, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Chris Brown and more.

============================================================================

What defines pop music as a genre? Which patterns and trends can we find in pop music?

Ask Question

13

Today, not all popular music is labeled as pop. To me it seems that pop has become a genre that
can be defined by its musical patterns, techniques, and styles. Similar to rock, jazz, and classical
music.

Which are the patterns, techniques, and styles that define pop music as a genre? What makes a
pop song what it is? Which are the characteristics of the genre?
Seems that popularity is no longer a factor, or at least not the most important one, defining Pop
music. Which are those musical characteristics that separate Pop from other genres?

For clarity, let's make a distinction between popular music and Pop music, using this source.

It is tempting to confuse pop music with popular music. The New Grove Dictionary Of Music and
Musicians, the musicologist's ultimate reference resource, identifies popular music as the music
since industrialization in the 1800's that is most in line with the tastes and interests of the urban
middle class. This would include an extremely wide range of music from vaudeville and minstrel
shows to heavy metal. Pop music, on the other hand, has primarily come into usage to describe
music that evolved out of the rock 'n roll revolution of the mid-1950's and continues in a
definable path to today.

This question is about Pop music, not popular music.

theory styles

shareimprove this question

edited Sep 1 '14 at 3:14

Dom♦

36.6k19106223

asked May 14 '14 at 4:19

Jamm

10.8k1160112

Pop is an abbreviation of popular, no? – Lee Kowalkowski May 14 '14 at 8:13


1

@LeeKowalkowski Popular music refers to whatever is popular, and can include any style. Pop
music is a style, a genre. You might say that Pop music is a genre of popular music. Pop music, as
a genre, has sub-genres, like power pop, dance pop, and synth pop. To me it seems that is has
become much more than just "Pop music is defined by its popularity". – Jamm May 14 '14 at
8:21

It might seem that way, like how indie music emerged to became a branded as 'Britpop' in the
1990s, but indie was just an abbreviation of independent, and the 'indie scene' at the time was
filled with very few independent artists, there was nothing new about the type of music, it was
just a trend, unlike the earlier drum'n'bass/jungle, hardcore/rave or acid/house movements.
Britpop was more of a movement than a genre, let's face it, it was just new rock music, but
musical trends are often confused with genres. Not all music charts are for narrow musical
genres. – Lee Kowalkowski May 14 '14 at 8:36

@LeeKowalkowski So, is it impossible to define Pop musically? And more importantly, how
would you define Pop? – Jamm May 14 '14 at 8:38

Music that has charted, I think. You get pop music of all genres, looking at
billboard.com/charts/year-end/2013/hot-pop-songs, there's all sorts in there, rock, dance, rap,
dubstep... – Lee Kowalkowski May 14 '14 at 8:53

add a comment

4 Answers

active oldest votes

The best answers to questions like these are economic in nature, and not confined to any
particular musical definitions, because "pop" is always evolving and changing.

At any given point in time, in any given location or culture, "pop" music is the newest emerging
style of music that is being commercialized, marketed and sold on a large scale. What you define
as "pop" in the USA in 2014 is going to be very different from what is defined as "pop" in the USA
in ten or twenty years.
Another word for "pop music" is commercial music. It is entirely a creation of the 20th century,
and it did not exist before the rise of radio.

"Pop" has meant very different things in every nation in the world where there was commercial
broadcast radio. Pop music in Kenya in 1975 was very different than that in Mexico in 1935 or in
Italy in 1995. But all forms of pop music have this in common: they are created to earn money in
a larger music industry.

Pop music is a music industry phenomenon that began in the early 1900s when commercial
radio stations began broadcasting pre-recorded music.

Then professional music publishing companies began commissioning the composing of specific
kinds of music which would be produced and recorded by professional music labels in certain
styles. These pieces of music would be specifically tailored to be the kinds of music that
particular radio stations would be eager to broadcast to appeal to a certain audience of listeners.
This was in turn driven by the kinds of advertisements (commercials) that various manufacturing
companies would create and pay the radio stations to broadcast between the playing of pieces
of pre-recorded music.

This happened in parallel in different nations and cultures all around the world. In every nation
where there was broadcast radio and an economy that would support selling mass-produced
recordings, completely different kinds of "pop" would arise and develop.

Originally, each radio station would play all kinds of music, but as time went on, certain radio
stations would specialize in just one genre of music, in order to appeal to a certain narrowly-
defined demographic of the listening public, again to attract paid advertisement from certain
companies wishing to sell certain specific categories of goods to the public, in order to create a
tightly-managed profitable business for the radio station.

In some nations, radio stations paid royalties to the publishing companies and the record labels
whenever a particular piece of pre-recorded music was broadcast. At any rate, the record
companies would mass-produce recorded discs (singles and albums) and later cassettes, CDs or
other kinds of media, and make them available for sale in local music stores in the areas where a
particular radio station broadcast to the public. This was carefully synchronized to marketing
campaigns to get those certain pieces of music played on certain radio stations within a certain
time frame, to enhance the potential for sales. It was all carefully organized with investments
and business and marketing plans.

To the degree that radio stations would specialize in playing a certain style of music that
appealed to a certain narrow demographic of listeners, the record labels and publishing
companies would oblige by deliberately seeking out and financing musicians who could create
music tailored to the desires of those specific radio stations. Thus the various sub-genres of pop
music, everywhere in the world, were created in a kind of feedback loop between broadcast
radio and the record labels. Styles and genres of pop music always changed and evolved, but
always in response to the market pressures of selling recordings and making money.

This still goes on today, even though there are many more outlets for marketing and selling
music than traditional broadcast radio stations and traditional music stores that sold discs and
tapes.

There are only two other economic categories of music besides pop music: folk music, which is
music that amateurs make for their own enjoyment and which they don't expect to make much
money from, and classical music, which is intellectually sophisticated music that is expensive to
create and perform but is paid for by patronage, which is to say the direct infusion of money
from wealthy noblemen, governments, churches, corporations and the like. Classical music does
not earn a profit overall.

So where did the styles of pop music originate? The earliest pop music in each culture usually
was adapted from existing folk music and in some sense, classical music.

It has also always been the case that folk musicians and classical musicians have gotten
themselves involved in the commercial music industry, record labels, and broadcast radio,
television, and motion pictures. To the extent that they do so, they tend to transform their music
from folk or classical into pop, according to the pressures put upon them by the publishing
companies and record companies and the music industry, in the hope of profits. It's all about the
money.

Pop Music Genres List


The most comprehensive list of pop music genres available on the Internet

The Music Genres List site covers many of the most popular styles of pop music, we hope this
becomes the definitive list of pop music genres on the Internet, send an email to add @
musicgenreslist dot com if you feel any pop music genres are missing and we’ll add to complete
the music list.

Pop

Adult Contemporary

Britpop

Pop/Rock

Soft Rock

Teen Pop

History from – www.types-of-music.net

pop-history-300x238

The term “pop song” is first recorded as being used in 1926, in the sense of a piece of music
“having popular appeal”. Hatch and Millward indicate that many events in the history of
recording in the 1920s can be seen as the birth of the modern pop music industry, including in
country, blues and hillbilly music.

Pop is short for popular, and it’s remained the defining term for the ever-changing music
favoured by the public. Although not specifically applied until the middle of the 20th century,
pop music as such can be traced by a few decades before that.
Things changed with the advent of recording, early in the 20th century. With that, music had the
chance to be much more widely disseminated. Records, played at 78 rpm on wind-up
gramophones, were relatively cheap.In America, that led to a breed of professional songwriters
in New York who wrote pieces intended to be recorded and sell well – Tin Pan Alley. They were
largely hacks, but did produce some beautiful material.

The first major pop stars as such were the crooners of the 1930s and ’40s. Bing Crosby sold
millions of records, as did Frank Sinatra (arguably the first modern pop star, with screaming
teenage female fans – the bobbysoxers), and in Britain, Al Bowly.

history-of-pop-225x300

Curiously, pop music charts as such didn’t exist until 1952, when the first Top Twenty was
recorded. It came at an interesting time, as “teenagers” really came into being. Historically
there’d been no transitional period between childhood and adulthood. Now, after World War II,
that seemed to begin, imported from America, and in skiffle, an interpretation of American folk
music (personified by Lonnie Donegan), teens found their music.

Rock’n’roll brought much more of that, and Elvis Presley became a global star, the biggest of the
late 1950s and early 1960s. But he would find himself supplanted by the Beatles, who
revolutionised pop by writing their own material, instigating a fashion that remains
undiminished.

The Beatles set the standard for pop music, and it remains undiminished – Beatlesque has
become a standard descriptive adjective. From 1962 until their break up in 1970 they dominated
the charts in Britain and America.

history-300x217
The Beatles influenced a generation – more than one, really – with their melodies and
harmonies, and that was apparent in the 1970s, when pop careened through several styles, from
the Glam Rock of T. Rex to the raw fire of punk. But the biggest pop star to emerge from the
period was a singer and pianist, Elton John, whose popularity has remained constant.

The idea of artists writing their own material remained in the wake of the Fab Four, although
professional songwriters stayed in demand for those unable to pen a tune. From the early days
of rock there had been “manufactured” stars – people taken on board for a pretty face rather
than any innate talent, and made into stars by producers. It had happened to Adam Faith, Alvin
Stardust and many others, most of whom only enjoyed short careers.

The 1980s proved a moribund decade for pop. Styles came and went, but it was an era short on
memorable music. Only Wham! (and later George Michael) emerged as true pop stars.

bsb-300x227

The 1990s was the time of boy bands, perhaps the ultimate in manufactured acts. A group of
young male singers was assembled for their looks, given catchy songs and arrangements and
pushed to fame. It happened to East 17 and, most memorably, Take That. America saw how it
worked and gave the world the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, and for a few years it worked very
well, selling millions of records. But like any fashion, it passed. A female version, the Spice Girls,
was briefly huge. Notably, the only ones to come out of this and sustain a solo career was Robbie
Williams from Take That and Justin Timberlake from ‘N Sync.

bs-300x300

America tried a similar tactic with female pop stars, and both Mariah Carey and Britney Spears
became massive manufactured stars, followed, to a lesser degree, by Christina Aguilera.

Since the year 2000 there’s been a dearth of major new stars, relying mostly on established
talent. Several younger artists have come and gone, and new styles have briefly emerged, but
nothing appears to have gained a major foothold besides modern R&B, which owes little to its
soulful predecessor, but a lot to hip-hop – which itself has become a pop style.

History of pop music timeline

1956 – Elvis Presley emerges as one of the world’s first rock stars

1957 – John Lennon meets Paul McCartney

1957 – The first official Quarry Men performance

1958 – Paul McCartney invited George Harrison to watch the Quarry Men

Late 1950s: The English rock music group ‘Beatles’ was formed

1960 – The Quarry Men become The Silver Beats

1960 – Pete Best joins the Beatles

1961- The American country singer ‘Patsy Cline’ becomes a mainstream pop music hit

1972 – Michael Jackson’s first solo hit “Ben” reaches No. 1

1974 – Michael Jackson introduces “The Robot”

1983 – Red Hot Chili Peppers are formed

1985 – Britney Spears emerges as a star of the music world

1990s – Various famous groups made pop music more popular.

1993 – Radiohead releases first studio album, “Pablo Honey”

1998 – “Coldplay” formed

2002 – Increased impact of television shows

2009 – Death of Michael Jackson